TCD expects €34m deficit for last academic year

Provost’s Review estimates €10m increase on 2014-15 figure


Trinity College Dublin’s overall deficit is expected to have reached around €34m for the 2015-16 academic year, according to figures released today in a “Provost’s Review” of the year, which was emailed to all students.

The figure marks a deficit increase of just under €10m from a figure of €24.1m in 2014-15. Both figures stand in stark comparison to a net deficit of €9m in 2010-11, and a surplus of over €2m as recently as 2007-08, before the impact of the recession and decreased government expenditure were felt in the university sector.

In line with a provision of the 1997 Universities Act, Trinity notified the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in July about the foreseen deficit. The Provost’s Review reaffirmed that the College has a “financial plan to eliminate the deficit”, but that “moving from a deficit to a surplus is a challenge that will take several years to complete”. The Review notes the decline in state funding and the increase in student charges since the onset of the recession in 2008.

The college reported a total income figure of €321.2m for the 2014-15 academic year, as per its annual financial statement, approved by the College Board in March this year. This is an increase of approximately €10m on the year before, though the gains were offset by increased staff costs and operating expenses. 2014-15, the last year for which full figures are available, saw income from student fees rise to €128.9m, with the largest proportional rise coming from non-EU postgraduates (€7.4m, up from €6.7m the year before).

The Provost is keen to point out in the Review that the deficit figure for the year includes significant one-off items relating to the demolition of Luce Hall and Oisín House, both of which will be “replaced by more productive assets, such as the Trinity Business School, and new Student Residences, in due course”.

The Review, which also includes sections on “The Student Experience”, and interviews with prominent researchers and academics, pointed out many of the year’s highlights, including the visits of Apple CEO Tim Cook and US Vice President Joe Biden to the college; the continued growth of the Trinity Business School; and Trinity’s receipt of a record-breaking donation of €138m from Atlantic Philanthropies, to fund research into dementia and ageing.

Also included in the document is a snapshot look at the demographics of the Trinity community. For the 2015-16, the college is recorded as having 17,511 students, with 12,742 being undergraduates, and 58% being female. Of the college’s 3,083 staff, 754 are academics, of whom 63%, with 37% coming from overseas.